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Originally posted at Live Journal for the HT100 Flash Fiction Challenge #13: Under Cover of the Night.

Around the Corner Where I Shall Turn

by Ralu

Christopher Keller is executed on January 4-th 2005, at 5 o'clock in the morning. It's still dark outside, the world hasn't yet awakened.

Lopresti, Querns, McManus and Mukada are the only and the last men walking beside him.

Mukada doesn't recite the usual "The LORD is my shepherd" tirade - Keller asked him not to. He's there, right next to him, because he has to. It's who he is.

Keller understands it; not that he cares. Everybody does whatever they have to. That's something that never changes, right?

Keller doesn't care about anything anymore. All the things he is - was - all he ever touched or wanted, all he (n)ever had...all of these things have flown like water through his fingers. Keller knows that. And he just doesn't care anymore. He's all alone.

All to himself.

So Mukada walks with him through the narrow, dark corridor, listens to his shallow breathing and his footsteps, carefully avoids staring at his shadow lingering for a second on the gray wall.

And watches him die. Not that different from Shirley Bellinger or Cyril O'Reily. Not at all different from Richard L'Italien.

Sister Pete is in her office, praying. Just like she prayed for Shirley Bellinger, just like she prayed for Jefferson Keane. Each and every one of the names and faces and voices and nightmares that make up Oz, every decaying body trapped within its walls, staining its heartless soul.

She prays. And asks for God to listen. Please listen. Just for once, *look*.

It's 4.57 in the morning and the world is still sunken. And miles away, carefully locked away in his room, his pod, his soul, Tobias Beecher watches the clock near his bed. 4.58.


He's crouched on the floor near the bed, arms crossed over his pale knees. Shivering and dangling slightly. Dangling and shivering. Slightly.

Sister Pete prays. Toby asks God... (what?) Please.


Please. The night still hovers over. Black and still and silent. All encompassing. Please...


God doesn't. And - hours after Keller's nothing more than an empty carcass ready to be shipped off to one of his ex wives for burial - Pete doesn't even know what she asked from Him. Neither does Toby.

---the end---
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